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SCIENCE
May 22, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
It's time to face the fungal foot facts: On average, each one of us is currently walking around with 100 types of fungi living on the soles of our feet, in between our toes, and on our toenails, according to a new study. It may sound gross, but that fungal diversity doesn't have to be a bad thing -- especially if healthy fungus populations can keep bad fungi at bay, like the kind that causes Athlete's foot or toenail scaling. "Skin bacteria and fungi have gotten a bum rap," said Julie Segre, a geneticist at the Human Genome Research Institute and the lead author of the study , published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
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SCIENCE
July 24, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
Do polar bears face obliteration as a species, not from starvation as the northern ice melts but through interbreeding with brown bears as changes in the climate bring them into contact with each other? Authors of a new report say that's a distinct possibility. The closest relative of the polar bear is the brown bear - matings between grizzlies and polar bears sometimes happen  in zoos or the wild, yielding very rare examples of hybrids known as grolar bears or pizzlies. Webb Miller of Pennsylvania State University and colleagues set out to examine the timing of the divergence between the two species, using a whole mess of DNA data - from contemporary brown bears, polar bears and black bears as well as from a polar bear that lived 110,000 to 130,000 years ago. (The ancient DNA was obtained from a jawbone found in Norway.)
SCIENCE
April 3, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Let that long-held breath out, folks. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer has picked up a lot of mysterious antimatter in low Earth orbit - but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a sign of dark matter. In fact, even with the 400,000 positrons picked up by the cosmic-ray experiment -- the largest number of such particles ever analyzed in space -- it's unclear whether those positrons result from decaying dark matter, or simply from pulsars sending particles into the universe. "What you have probably seen from the data is a significant new measurement," said Brown University physicist Richard Gaitskell, a lead scientist on a different dark matter detector called the Large Underground Xenon experiment.
NATIONAL
June 8, 2012 | By Amy Hubbard
Nothing new in the world? Nothing left to discover? NASA would beg to differ. The discovery of an "enormous, off-the-charts" bloom of microscopic marine plants in the Arctic has floored scientists. And it confirms, if nothing else, that there are things on this planet not yet seen -- things that you "never, ever could have anticipated in a million years. "  So says Paula Bontempi of NASA. An ocean biology and biogeochemistry program manager in Washington, Bontempi spoke with the Los Angeles Times on Friday morning about the discovery.  Here's how it came about: Over the summers of 2010 and 2011, NASA's Icescape expedition was exploring the Arctic waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska.
BUSINESS
July 7, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Bipedal robots, in general, are a pretty stilted bunch. Their movements are overarticulated, they wobble, they topple, and when faced with an obstacle -- even one as slight as a slope change -- they often can't overcome it. But that may soon change. This week, researchers from the Univeristy of Arizona published a paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering that describes the development of a new type of robot legs that mimic the neuromuscular architecture of human walking.
NATIONAL
January 5, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
According to the conventional wisdom that liberals accept climate change and conservatives don't, Kerry Emanuel is an oxymoron. Emanuel sees himself as a conservative. He believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He backs a strong military. He almost always votes Republican and admires Ronald Reagan. Emanuel is also a highly regarded professor of atmospheric science at MIT. And based on his work on hurricanes and the research of his peers, Emanuel has concluded that the scientific data show a powerful link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
SCIENCE
September 21, 2010 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The dark dust thrown up by human activity in the deserts of the Southwest hastens the melting of Rocky Mountain snow and ultimately reduces the amount of water flowing into the upper Colorado River by about 5%, scientists reported Monday. The lost water amounts to more than 250 billion gallons — enough to supply the Los Angeles region for 18 months, said study leader Thomas H. Painter, a snow hydrologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. "That's a lot of water," said Painter, whose study was published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 18, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
A group of scientists warned Tuesday that world leaders must act more swiftly to slow greenhouse gas emissions or risk "abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes" from climate change. The American Assn. for the Advancement of Science's blunt report contains no new scientific conclusions. But by speaking in plain, accessible terms it seeks to instill greater urgency in leaders and influence everyday Americans. Scientists said many previous assessments have been long and ponderous, and have failed to shift public opinion on global warming.
SCIENCE
October 17, 2009 | John Johnson Jr.
Is 2012 the end of the world? If you scan the Internet or believe the marketing campaign behind the movie "2012," scheduled for release in November, you might be forgiven for thinking so. Dozens of books and fake science websites are prophesying the arrival of doomsday that year, by means of a rogue planet colliding with the Earth or some other cataclysmic event. Normally, scientists regard Internet hysteria with nothing more than a raised eyebrow and a shake of the head. But a few scientists have become so concerned at the level of fear they are seeing that they decided not to remain on the sidelines this time.
SCIENCE
January 28, 2013 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
A team of storm-chasing scientists sampling rarefied air has found a world of bacteria and fungi floating about 30,000 feet above Earth. The findings, detailed Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that microbes have the potential to affect the weather. Scientists have long studied airborne bacteria, but they typically do so from the ground, often trekking to mountain peaks to examine microbes in fresh snow. Beyond that, they don't know much about the number and diversity of floating microbes, said study coauthor Athanasios Nenes, an atmospheric scientist at Georgia Tech.
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